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Lecture: John McCurdy “Quarters”

October 24, 2019 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

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As part of the Fall 2019 Lecture Series sponsored by the Sons of the
Revolution in the State of New Jersey, John Gilbert McCurdy will speak
about his book “Quarters: The Accommodation of the British Army and the
Coming of the American Revolution” on Thursday, October 24 at 7 PM. Books
will be available for purchase in the Quartermaster’s Store Gift Shop.

When Americans declared independence in 1776, they cited King George III
“for quartering large bodies of armed troops among us.” In Quarters, John
Gilbert McCurdy explores the social and political history behind the
charge, offering an authoritative account of the housing of British
soldiers in America. Providing new interpretations and analysis of the
Quartering Act of 1765, McCurdy sheds light on a misunderstood aspect of
the American Revolution.

Quarters unearths the vivid debate in eighteenth-century America over the
meaning of place. It asks why the previously uncontroversial act of
accommodating soldiers in one’s house became an unconstitutional act. In so
doing, Quarters reveals new dimensions of the origins of Americans’ right
to privacy. It also traces the transformation of military geography in the
lead up to independence, asking how barracks changed cities and how
attempts to reorder the empire and the borderland led the colonists to
imagine a new nation.

Quarters emphatically refutes the idea that the Quartering Act forced
British soldiers in colonial houses, demonstrates the effectiveness of the
Quartering Act at generating revenue, and examines aspects of the law long
ignored, such as its application in the backcountry and its role in shaping
Canadian provinces.

Above all, Quarters argues that the lessons of accommodating British troops
outlasted the Revolutionary War, profoundly affecting American notions of
place. McCurdy shows that the Quartering Act had significant ramifications,
codified in the Third Amendment, for contemporary ideas of the home as a
place of domestic privacy, the city as a place without troops, and a nation
with a civilian-led military.

The full lecture schedule is:
All lectures begin at 7 PM and the Museum Shop opens at 6:30 PM
Tuesday, October 15: David Price – The Road to Assunpink Creek
Thursday, October 24: John Gilbert McCurdy – Quarters
Tuesday, October 29: Hal Taylor – Before Penn
Monday, November 4: Kenneth Gossard – Thalers and Pence
Thursday, November 14: Peter Stark – Young Washington
Thursday, November 21: Joyce Malcolm – The Tragedy of Benedict Arnold


October 24, 2019
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Old Barracks Museum,101 Barrack St, Trenton, NJ 08608, USA
2 Barrack St United States + Google Map